Sunday, 9 October 2011

The arrival of our son. (VERY LONG)

Michael’s birth story
10th September 2011.
Nottingham city Hospital.
Thursday 8th September
Went and got my hair cut and popped to a friend’s. had a real sense of needing to get a few things sorted and went to the banks and to get a present for my Reiki teacher. I remember sitting at my friend’s and thinking god, I don’t think I can do this for another two weeks, I’m ready now. I had some fairly regular contractions for about an hour or so, that felt different to Braxton hicks – but then stopped.

Friday 9th September.
Took Hannah to magical movers and then to the library. We also spent the morning having a massive tidy round and picking stuff up off the floor. We also went and posted bits and I took her to buy a little teddy for wavy baby that I had been saying we could do so she could bring it to the hospital. I suddenly really wanted to eat carby food so got sausage and chips at the chipper and was so hungry could barely wait to get in front door. Managed to make Hannah her lunch and then ate about as much food as I could fit in. I felt completely exhausted and when Hannah went for her nap, I went flat out on the sofa and woke up an hour and a half later. I felt much better for the sleep and lots of food but it is fairly unusual of me to go to sleep without thinking about it especially in the afternoon.
That night Dave went to bed early as he was tired from being up on Thursday night with Hannah, and me tossing and turning. I’d had some fairly regular contractions for about an hour or so, that felt different to Braxton hicks – but then stopped.
I sat and finished off a book and then had a look on line at baby centre, and read about early signs of labour.
I spent most of the night tossing and turning and feeling really uncomfortable and tight and wondered if I could manage it for another two weeks.

Saturday 10th September.
Woke up to a pop and a gushing feeling at 6:45. Managed to hot foot it round the bed and get to the toilet as quickly as I could. By which point I knew it was my waters. Thankfully we had put the waterproof protective sheet on the bed – but only just a few nights before. I rang the hospital who said to have breakfast and sort childcare out, and come in when ready because of the previous csection and group b strep, requiring antibiotics. But I had no problem doing that because I knew that once I was there I would be able to get into my zone and relax. So I rang mum and dad, who set off, and rang our neighbours as I knew they were up, and they said they could have her until mum and dad appeared. They were going to soft play anyway so an extra one wasn’t a hastle.
We left for the hospital just after 8, by which time I had had started having regular contractions.
When we went in to the labour suite, we were shown to a room by Bernie who was with us for the majority of the shift. It took a while to get going but we soon had the antibiotics while they were doing the monitoring. This needed doing initially to see where we were at with baby and check all was ok. Unfortunately the only position we could get a trace in was on the bed, anything else would lose the heart beat – even though we tried every possible way. By now I was still losing good bits of waters, and also having stronger contractions. So I put on the green top id got to labour on, and put the tens machine on so I could get to grips with it.  While we were waiting, we thought we would try the ‘kiss’ that is alleged to get contractions moving – it definitely got them moving, so I can highly recommend it.
Once all the antibiotics were done and the monitoring was satisfactory, I got off the bed and went for walk round the room as I was waiting for them to bring other things down. I used the yoga camel walk and scooping walk and found it really helped, it definitely made a change to the contractions. When they bought the mat down, we put the mindful mamma cd on, and after that I just have memories of being really chilled out and going with the feelings and sensations. That really helped me get into the zone and again , noticed a difference in contractions stepping up as I was relaxing into the cd. I ended up on the mat using the cat poses and lizard as it just felt comfortable and helpful. Dave then put on the beach sounds and i found that it really helped with improving contractions, helped again by Dave stroking my hair for a while, which was my anchor. While I was still on the floor in child’s pose, I was under my blanket, hiding – in my own little world and found it all rather fabulous that I could just be there and feel the contractions that were bringing baby along. I gave myself regular Reiki, using the symbols and every time, I got a lot of movement from baby and then a stronger contraction. After a while I wanted to move so I had a walk around again and moved to sit on the ball leaning on my pillow on the bed. I carried on with the beach sounds and dave stroking my hair. We also got the photos out of my special memories, and that definitely made a big difference – sitting looking at them just made my heart feel full. Shortly after that I found that as well as tens I needed to use the golden thread breath which really helped me concentrate on taking the right breaths. I felt quite spacy from the extra breathing and definitely relaxed. It sounds odd probably to most, but I wasn’t bothered – if anything I was enjoying it, which I am sure is why then helped the contractions get stronger again and I found that I needed to hum my way through the out breaths to help – gave me something really great to concentrate on but felt quite meditative under my blanket, with beach noises and nice head strokes. I carried on with this for a while and then we put on the music cd. Again, adding this into the mix, rocking on the ball and humming really seemed to help. The cd of tracks really helped with the endorphin feeling, making me think of good times, people and looking forward to meeting our bump and being a family of 4. It made me feel rather full up and happy and just excited about baby coming and being in the world. Then it made me have some happy tears – but it all helped with the contractions.
I had no idea what the time was as thankfully there had been no clock in the room when we got there. it all felt like it was going well – and after more antibiotics into my hand which was done with me barely noticing- and some monitoring, they agreed I could have a bath. It was definitely a good thing to do, and I really enjoyed the sensations of the water. Even when they put more cold in as it was too hot, that felt right too. Dave kept stroking my hair, and I could tell that the contractions were stronger, and I was having to hum for longer and louder.
And then suddenly I wanted to get out of the bath. I went from feeling really relaxed to just needing to get out but even getting out of the bath was hard. I must have had about 8 contractions before I could get out and back to the room, and I found them increasingly hard to deal with. We put the tens machine back on which helped, but somehow it felt different, I definitely didn’t feel relaxed and was becoming aware of it not feeling right.
I didn’t know what position I wanted to be in but settled on being on the mat with the yoga ball to lean on and rock with. It all changed a lot and the tens machine wasn’t helping and I found I just could not breath through the contractions. It felt like something was wrong. In my head, I was saying ‘trust that intuition’ which was something two of my yoga friends had said in the previous few days. It was definitely a different sensation, and instead of being a pleasure to experience the sensations of labour, it was really  a proper pain, that somehow I felt familiar with. The tens made it feel worse, and I went from being in a happy, chilled out place to feeling completely spaced out and unable to comprehend what anyone was saying to me. All I was aware of was feeling in total agony and just that nothing was helping. Gas and air just made it feel floatier still and totally out of control.
Dave went out of the room with the mw to have a discussion while I was being monitored and those few contractions on my own were murder. Apparently I ripped the monitoring belts off, I was convinced that they were causing the major back pain I was now experiencing. Pain was definitely a new word in my vocabulary of labour, it hadn’t been the experience at all up til then– and my head was ringing bells that I was too spaced out to hear.
I later found out from Dave, that I had dilated really quickly from 3-8 cm – I was 3 at 12pm and was at 8 by 5 so had all been looking good – but then I had got to 8.5 and not moved, and they were starting to get a bit concerned by the fact I had changed from being calm and coping to wild and out of control. I also didn’t know at the time, that when I had got off the bed in a strop, I had lost a large amount of blood, and they were worried about this because even though baby appeared to be well and coping, they couldn’t tell where it had come from. Apparently there were several doctors in with me, but I had no awareness of any of it. I just remember the ever increasing sensation that this was just not right. I felt like I was being pounded in the back with a heavy wait and that it just hurt too much to think. I knew then that it was wrong, it felt like it had with Hannah for a start – but in my head I was thinking about what we were told ‘pain tells us there is something wrong’. I’d not had the sensation of pain for the majority of the labour, and it suddenly changed, like a switch. That intuition in my head kept knocking until I thought about it. I had this overwhelming sensation that I needed to call it a day and go for the C-section, that there was no point in waiting for more hours to become more exhausted, that the pain was telling me things were wrong somehow. I had to mentally work out somehow whether I was just chickening out or what my reasons were for it –but somehow I knew, this was my attempt, and it had been the attempt I wanted it to be for as long as it had been progressing well.
Again, I later found out that the consultant could not believe I wasn’t asking for more pain relief, and when I agreed to the C-section and epidural, a collective sigh of relief went round the room.
Initially  they were going to get me a spinal and take me to theatre – but then there were some emergencies so theatre was backed up. As baby was ok, and I was ok, they were in no rush. They had hoped that it might allow me to continue to progress, but they found baby’s position was really awkward and hadn’t come down far enough to allow me to fully dilate. I did ask the surgeon if I would be able to have more if I had another csection, which apparently they all were rather amused at, given baby 2 was still inside. But it felt really important to make them aware I wanted options to have more. I also had chance to question how they were going to go about preventing the issues I had with healing last time. With it being unrushed, they were able to explain everything, and it was a really relaxed and helpful conversation. I definitely felt well looked after and that time was taken. Debbie had taken over from Bernie at this point and she was just as great and supportive.
 They put only a very small amount of epidural in so I still had some sensation of contractions, but it meant I was able to have calm moments to sit with Dave and prepare myself mentally for knowing baby was going to be there that day, in less than an hour. We carried on listening to the cd, and I just felt relief that I had tried, given baby the best chance but that I had done all I was able to.
I was so much more with it so remember being wheeled a little haphazardly down the corridor to the theatre, and getting a nice welcome from the theatre staff as I was wheeled in. I requested that I was given my antacid before being laid down which made a difference this time and I wasn’t sick. Again, because there was no rush, they were able to take their time in getting me ready, in getting the epidural topped up and the anaesthetist added bare minimum while checking I had no sensation. it really was quite an odd sensation while I could feel them move my legs, I had no recognition of pain or cold. I could feel the surgeon on my belly but there was no pain, just pushing and movement.
Dave suddenly noticed the music that was playing was ‘Doctor Doctor’ and commented on it. Turns out the surgeon likes her rock music so had made a bit of a compilation cd up that included status quo and eventually,  Lynyrd Skynyrd ‘Freebird’ was playing when she was making the final cuts to deliver baby, which seemed pretty fitting. It made for a bit of a light atmosphere and connection also, having two babies who came to see iron maiden in utero, and now the surgeon playing great music, kind of made the day- given I had helloween, bonjovi and pals on my labour cd too.
So at 2147, she pulled baby out, and held him up so that Daddy could see he was most definitely a boy. As I was lying waiting for him to arrive in the outside world, I wondered about names, and it popped into my head that I knew what the name would be. As I heard him crying, and Dave told me it was a boy, I knew we had to use the name Michael. Having spent much of the pregnancy feeling it was hannah’s boy name and telling Dave we could not possibly use it, as soon as I heard him, I knew and when we saw him, and they put him on my chest under the gown, we had to call him Michael. I can’t even explain why, but it sounded like he was Michael, and nothing else. I couldn’t even remember what other names we had looked at. It took a while for them to get me stapled up ( that was a very strange noise when they put them in!) but I had him as much skin to skin on my chest as I could expose. It felt like the perfect moment again, eye to eye, him looking at me and having little shouts, but hushing when I talked to him, like he knew me. The same moment of excitement when Dave told me what we had, and we both cried a lot, tears of pure joy, and that feeling of exploding heart happiness.

After a little bit, I started feeling a bit funny so Dave held him. Apparently my blood pressure went down so I felt a bit sicky and achy. I got quite hot as well so they put a cold pack on my head to try and cool me down. I was really impressed with the anaesthetist who spoke to me all the way through and I generally felt was really calm but really efficient equally.
I had a lot of great people in taking care of me – a very strange moment when I realised one of the theatre nurses was a parent of a child I taught at SMC… but in a way it was nice and I felt like she looked after me well, saw me up to the ward and it just added a nice touch too.

We spent a while in recovery as I had the raised temp – but I felt really well looked after – and it gave me a good time with Dave – as he wasn’t allowed on the ward at that time of night. We also had a good try to get breast feeding going – Michael was sucking really well from the moment he came out, and nearly took the nurses’ finger off. He wanted to go straight on to me so it made life a lot easier when we got up to the ward. We had some lovely skin to skin and again, as we rode through the corridors, I just felt amazing that I had my baby with me.
I was back on Bonington ward, in the same room as I was with Hannah but nearer the window. I felt like the midwives were really welcoming and compassionate, helped me get him latched on and he tried really hard to feed. Obviously there wasn’t a lot there and he was really hungry so at about 4 am they gave him a few mls of formula which allowed us both to sleep for a few hours and then he was able to try again and started getting colostrum from me. It was all so different to last time, I felt way more awake, and so did he – and wanted to suckle which made a huge difference.

It could not have been a more wonderful experience. Admittedly, it would have been preferable to have the delivery   I was trying for – but as labouring experiences go, I feel like it was as I wanted it to be.
The experience of labour was perfect. The things we learned on the mindful mamma course, stood me in such good stead – the cd not only gave me a fabulously relaxed pregnancy but also allowed me to enter into the labouring experience in such a relaxed way and until he turned himself, I was managing so well and so calmly, it was the empowering, emotional, perfect feeling that I knew it could be – which is also how I knew when things had changed.
all the tips and postures I have been using in yoga were great for helping me keep mobile and find that comfortable and relaxed position. Each of the ‘props’ we took, helped improve my contractions, and I can’t recommend the experience more highly. The outcome was perhaps not desirable – but ultimately I have the most handsome baby boy who arrived safely.
As it turned out, the surgeon felt there was no way he was going to come out or move down because he was head back again, and that was why he had not been coming down. The consultants suggested that it was related to the shape of my pelvic bone, that baby got into a certain point and could not move into the right position – how true that is I don’t know – but I’ve given it two goes to deliver and the same thing has happened both times – I think it is fair to say I’ve given it a blooming good go. Oddly though, if it wasn’t for the safety issues, I would still like to labour again if we have another one – I think even just a little while would make a big difference. I think secretly I hope I will go into labour a little early again as they still said they would wait until 39 weeks before going for a planned section.

I can’t fault the way in which all the staff adhered to my birth plan, to the point where they were almost in pain for me. I had no awareness of anything that was going on at the time, they were fully respectful of what I wanted as far as they safely could be – but at no point was I offered any pain relief, or told any information I didn’t want to know. One of the doctors later commented on how detailed and organised my birth plans were – like it was a really positive thing – which it was! I felt totally looked after, that I was treated like an individual and with respect. They just seemed interested in the plan, not at all judgemental and really, really flexible. Again, the information we gathered on the Mindful Mamma course gave us all the tools we needed and gave us the confidence to ask for it.
The real star of the show – was Dave. Not just on the day, but for the last 9 months. Making sure I could rest when I needed to, giving me the opportunity to do the yoga classes – which meant him working late on a Monday so he could leave early on a Tuesday to allow me to get there in time, looking after Hannah so I could have treatments or go to the yoga mornings, and coming with me to all the scans, meetings and courses we needed to. He asked the right questions when we visited the hospital – having clearly listened to my wishes, he remembered several things I had wanted to know but then forgot to ask on the day!  He totally took on board everything he needed to- took over the decision making having known what I wanted, he made sure I had everything I needed, that the staff did what they were meant to and had to hear their concerns and somehow translate it to me without scaring me or ruining the labour. There is no way that I could have done a single moment of my pregnancy or the labour without him essentially carrying me.
It was so freeing during the labour just to be under a blanket and focusing on my baby, while things I needed were sorted out and given to me. He took care to remove the bloody bed mat so I didn’t see how much blood I had lost - despite him hating anything vaguely blood like normally. He took on board everything we learned, asked the right questions and got the right information. Half the time I only had to think of something and he already had it sorted or the questions asked. Once again, he showed his true strength, and for the millionth time, I wonder how I managed to find that person who could be that strong and supportive and could come through for me in all the moments of my life that have needed that support. I know that I could not have imagined a more amazing partner for me – or father for our children and I feel blessed every single day.
So many people also helped and supported us throughout the pregnancy, I feel so lucky.
So many wonderful friends and of course all the 2008 aqua girls who have regularly offered to or looked after Hannah to enable me to go to antenatal classes, and appointments – thus making my life easier but also meaning that Hannah was entertained and not being dragged to the hospital every few weeks. And, ofcourse, our fabby neighbours who had Hannah on the big day, to name but a few times. Also the lovely friends who have passed on pre-loved clothes and all sorts of lovely things they no longer needed. The generosity of spirit and time has blown me away. The Reiki is flowing in your directions, that much is definitely sorted.
In no particular order, the wonderful professionals that supported me.
June @ Caring hands who I had so many Reiki treatments from during the pregnancy, and at Reiki shares also. She also did some EFT with me which helped so much in clearing the shelf of clutter in my head – and giving me the phrases allowed me to accept and recognise that the most important part of all was the safety of both of us. And also made my feet look lovely when Michael was just a few days old.
June @ scents of harmony who gave me lots of delicious reflexology treatments before and post bub, loaned me the lovely bean bag that has been even more of a bonus as a breastfeeding seat. The treatments helped sort out my heartburn and several other less than pleasant side effects of pregnancy, helped me relax in a big way, and most of all helped complete the turn when he was breech- it was quite an energy full moment. Also – loads of really useful tips for healing my wound and other things I just can’t remember but know I found useful.
Sophie @ Mindful Mamma. For her wonderful day, the great information we were given that helped me look at birthing in a whole new light – and allowed me to enjoy a fabulous labour while listening to what my body,and intuition, were telling me. The fabulous relaxation experience of the cd,  throughout pregnancy,  that helped me sleep so well from ten weeks pregnant. I am sure also that the information we gathered help me plan out reasoning to present to the consultant about birth choices.
Holly @ Earth mamma.  For being generally fantastic at going over worries during pregnancy, for offering to do the belly casting – which we sadly never got to do because he came early – and for the amazing hypno session that definitely started the turning process and helped me find a new way to release negative baggage!
Ameet and Hannah @ The yoga home, for a year’s worth of amazing yoga and general preparation for pregnancy, the fabulous yoga during 9 months of pregnancy, and all the tips and knowledge that have helped me develop and deepen my awareness and relaxation- which allowed me to have such a powerful experience of pregnancy and child birth. I also had chance to meet wonderful mummies to be once again and share wonderful –and not so wonderful -pregnancy experiences.

Cathy Warrior – for fabulous aquanatal where I had chance to relax but also help my fitness. It made a massive difference to my physical ability to cope with a toddler, and pregnancy, and generally stay well throughout – very little swelling, and little weight gain. All of which are helping me with the recovery. If I can make it to even a few postnatal sessions, I will be even happier. As well as the physical benefits, it was great to be able to meet the wonderful ladies I shared it with and will hopefully become good friends, if they aren’t already!  
Suzie @ Urban Kneads who provided me with loads of really useful support and info from bras to breast feeding support, confirmed that I was needing to do my hypnobirthing course with Mindful Mamma and introduced me to my reflexologist AND pregnancy pilates with Claire Mockford. 

 1 minute old
 2 days old and having a look at his new home.
 3 weeks old and quite at home.

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